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HPX 170 Low light Settings?

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Adam White
HPX 170 Low light Settings?
on Mar 17, 2009 at 3:41:20 am

Does anyone have experience with shooting footage with the AG-HPX 170 in low light conditions? I have looked at various scene file settings but so far much of the video I shoot is very dark. I work in an ENG environment, usually with nothing more than a camera top light. The video I shoot at night generally looks very under-exposed with very BLACK black levels. I have palyed with the various gain and exposure settings. I am looking to see if there might be some video settings that would help bring out the quality in low light. Any settings that you think might help would be appreciated. Thanks.



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David Jones
Re: HPX 170 Low light Settings?
on Mar 17, 2009 at 6:12:34 pm

Hi Adam-

I haven't used the 170, but I've been a news shooter for the past 15 years. In those conditions, the only thing you can do is gain up! AND, crank open the iris. Sometimes it's not as bad as you would think. Other times, even that doesn't work. In any case, when it comes to ENG, anything is better than nothing :o)

Regards,
Dave J


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Adam White
Re: HPX 170 Low light Settings?
on Mar 17, 2009 at 11:54:25 pm

Dave-
I agree, gain has always been a nightside News shooters best friend. And when we were shooting with our DVCPro cameras this wasn't a problem. We had the ability to gain up to 30dB if needed. It doesn't look all that great but works in a pinch. However, now out station has replaced the older cameras with Panny AG_HPX 170's. I don't think they are the best camera for ENG but we are using them anyway. I am noticing that the video levels are very dark at night. I have tried gain and exposure. Our cameras seem to be only able to gain up to 18dB. I am more curious about the actual video settings. Such as detail level, detail coring, chroma level, chroma phase, gamma, knee, master ped, etc. Is there an optimized setting that might be well suited for dark light? I know that setting up lighting is the best answer but not always available. I realize this may be a shot in the dark (pun intended) but any help is appreciated. Thanks!
-Adam



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Steve Eisen
Re: HPX 170 Low light Settings?
on Mar 18, 2009 at 1:02:32 am

You now have experienced what a 1/3'' chip is like to work with. Your solution is to use more light. You can adjust your pedestal. Use your waveform and tweak your settings. Save it as a scene file.

I been shooting ENG for over 20 years. My main camera is the HPX-500 and have no problems shooting at night. I also have the HPXP-170 and usually use 6 db gain for dark shots. My results are satisfactory. I use a Frezzi mini fill dimmable light.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Dan Brockett
Re: HPX 170 Low light Settings?
on Mar 18, 2009 at 6:18:54 pm

Hi Adam:

I can't think of many cameras less suited to ENG than the HPX170, as Steve suggested, 1/3" cameras are not optimal for that sort of environment but you have to work with what you have I guess.

1. Raise the master pedestal. I wouldn't raise it a lot, but it will turn your inky blacks to dark gray which may give a perception of not being such a black hole.

2. Use B-Press gamma. It is proven to be the least noisy setting out of all of them. At least your darks won't have as much noise as the other settings, Cine D is especially noisy.

3. Assuming you shoot 720 60p or 1080i for news, you can try the DRS. While it will increase some noise, it may also allow you to see into the blacks more as it increases perceived shadow detail and black level.

it is just a matter of shooting some tests and experimenting to get the most out of the camera that it is capable of for your situation. You are a prime candidate for an HPX500 though, a 2/3" imager would make your life and pictures much better as would real lens, shoulder mount, four channels of usable audio, etc. HPX170 is not the right tool for the job, you should tell your bosses.

Dan



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